The man who jumped in to the Chena River from the Steese Highway Bridge in Fairbanks with a friend on Thursday, then went missing in the river, has been identified by the Tanana Chiefs Conference as 35-year-old Andrew John, who is a resident of Arctic Village and Fairbanks.
The TCC issued a press release identifying the missing man after receiving the go-ahead from the man’s family.
The two men were attempting to swim from the bridge to Graehl Landing on Front Street approximately 600 feet downriver when John disappeared. John’s swimming companion, identified by Fairbanks Police as Robert Francis, was able to make it out of the water, but John did not. Witnesses saw John as he continued downstream to the Wendell Street Bridge at which point, he disappeared beneath the surface of the swollen river in the swift current.
The search efforts for John have been hampered by higher than usual water levels and poor water visibility in the river as a result of the unusual amount of rain in the region of late.
Searchers, headed up by VPSO Sergeant Jody Potts the Incident Commander for the search efforts, have been combing and dragging the river from where John was last seen to downriver of Noyes Slough.
There are a half-dozen boats and a score of volunteers searching the cold Chena River on Saturday.